Category Archives: C4

Newspaper Map – handy geo-based newspaper search tool

As social studies teachers, we’re always looking for great current events resources. And what history teacher doesn’t love old newspapers as primary sources?

Several years ago, I ran across a site that does both. And translates stuff into English for you. And provides a very cool way to visual browse over 10,000 newspaper in map form. And has a mobile version for iPods, iPads and cell phones.

Called newspaper map, the relatively new webapp uses Google Maps to visually display newspapers from almost every country in the world. You can filter the map results by place, address, newspaper name and language. The further you zoom in, the more pins you see. The larger the pin, the larger the paper.

Continue reading Newspaper Map – handy geo-based newspaper search tool

8 sweet graphic organizers for primary sources

primary-source newspaperDeb Brown, a good friend from the Shawnee Mission, Kansas district, shared a statement with me several years ago and it’s rattled around in my head ever since.

“Primary sources belong to everyone. Not just the smart kids.”

I like that.

Something else she said caught my attention.

“Kids should read like a detective and write like an investigative reporter.”

With the new Kansas state standards in full force and the NCSS C3 document just out, this sort of thinking needs to part of every teacher’s world view.

Around the same time, Deb shared some of the things that teachers in her district were using to help kids make sense of all sorts of historical evidence. They fit perfectly into the first C of the 4C’s framework I’m developing for social studies teachers:

  • Collect
  • Collaborate
  • Create
  • Communicate

And using graphic organizers help meet Common Core literacy standards. So I’ve borrowed what she shared and put them together with a few other things to come up with a list of eight highly effective strategies. Together, they provide students with a variety of powerful data collection tools that they can use as they work to solve problems. Continue reading 8 sweet graphic organizers for primary sources

Test drive the C4 Framework – Win a prize!

C4-logoAfter years of sitting on the margins of instructional practice, social studies is getting a makeover. The Common Core is calling for the teaching of literacy through the integration of fiction and non-fiction into our instruction. In August 2013, the National Council for the Social Studies published the complementary College, Career, and Civic Life Framework for Social Studies State Standards.

Both the Common Core and College, Career, and Civic Life standards support a different approach to teaching and learning social studies than what we saw as part of No Child Left Behind. Instead of focusing on memorizing specific content measured by multiple choice tests, students are now being asked to do social studies – to think historically, to solve problems, to read, write, and communicate. As teachers, we are being asked to find a balance between foundational knowledge and the authentic use of that knowledge.

But it can be difficult. What does that balance look like in actual practice? Continue reading Test drive the C4 Framework – Win a prize!

Flags, Flags, Flags… and a CONTEST!!!!

As a guest post this week, Mike Cronin of Gettysburg Flag Works, shares some things you can do in the classroom and has agreed to SPONSOR A FLAG CONTEST where one lucky reader will WIN A FREE FLAG!!!!  The details can be found in the blog post so make sure you read the entire post!!!!–BB

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As we educate students about American history, we tend to focus more on the events than on the civic observances that are part of history, too. However, understanding that Memorial Day is about more than parades and barbecues, and that there is a correct and incorrect way to display an American flag is also an important part of our culture. Continue reading Flags, Flags, Flags… and a CONTEST!!!!

Using elementary Evidence-Based Terms in social studies classrooms

evidence-based-terms2As we move into a social studies world that is asking kids to collect evidence, organize evidence, create products, and communicate results, writing skills are becoming more and more important.

But for the last ten years or so, at least in the state of Kansas, we’ve asked kids to focus instead on memorizing content. So now when we’re asking our middle school and high school students to not just write more but to use evidence while proving assertions, we get a lot of blank stares.

My suggestion?

Steal a practice used by a lot of elementary teachers and start training your secondary kids to use evidence-based terms while writing.

Evidence-based terms are simple phrases that support the use of, well . . . evidence. So if we ask kids to look a couple of primary source documents and develop a thesis from their analysis, they have some scaffolding to help them do that.

Examples of evidence-based terms? Continue reading Using elementary Evidence-Based Terms in social studies classrooms